Close your eyes. Think of all the gifts you received as a child. What is the singular one gift that you can recall the brand, color and style, the year you received it and under what circumstances. For many - this lifelong memory is the day you received your first new bike.
And think back to some of your favorite childhood activities. Riding your bike might come to mind. Your bike allowed you to visit friends, go to the pool, sports, the park, school, a part-time job or just enjoy the sense of independence it provided.
At Bike Lady, we believe every kid should have a bike. Every kid deserves the fun and freedom a bike provides. And every kid should experience the thrill of getting a brand new shiny set of two wheels at least once during their childhood.
Children under the care of county children's services agencies like Franklin County Children Services are governed by many regulations of what they can and cannot do. They can't get a driver's license, can't go to a slumber party or public pool without their guardian along, can't jump on trampolines or babysit a neighbor's kid. It's a life of can't, can't, can't.
Riding a bike is one thing these kids can do without extraneous rules - just like any other kid.
In addition to the thrill, excitement and mobility, a bike is exposure to exercise and a healthy lifestyle. It's a lesson in conservation and alternative transportation. And it's something they get to OWN, something that belongs only to them, something to hold onto. Ownership is a big deal when you're living a childhood of constant change and transition.
For the younger kids, that first bike is a rite of passage, an introduction to responsibility, and often the first taste of independence - all important developmental milestones in the life of a child. A bike is the very best toy! For the older children, a bike is transportation that creates the opportunity for an after-school job or sport, and a way to get to the library or the rec center.
In the end, there is something simply indescribable about a new bike, someting intangible about why this very tangible gift matters so much. Something magical. The kids? They say the bike means someone cares what happens to them. They say the bike means hope.
That's why bikes.
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